Less is more
11:09 a.m. on December 29, 2004

I have a disorder called Over Gifting. I tend to over do it on the gift giving and I can’t seem to help it. I was not always like this, however and I can trace it back to a Christmas when I was about 15 years old. This was the year that my family started doing a Kris Kringle style Christmas where each person draws a name of a family member and only buys gifts for that person. Up until that age, I was not really expected to buy gifts for others and relied on my mother to make sure everyone was covered in the gift department. I drew my sister’s name. Since this was the first year we were doing it this way, there were not really any rules or guidelines. I got her some headphones for her Walkman to replace the ones I recently broke that she did not know about. I also got her a tape of a band she really liked at the time, but I had opened it to listen to it first and then left the case at home, so I had to give her the bare tape in very bad gift giving fashion. This was all I got her and all she was going to get from family for Christmas that year. Coincidentally, she also drew my name. She is 7 years older than me and not as dumb as I was, so she went all out to make sure I got very special presents. She lavished me with art supplies and a pretty sweater and a beautiful jewelry box that contained the perfect pair of earrings. I felt awful that I basically stiffed her and ruined her Christmas; I still cringe thinking about it. This is when I learned that gift giving can be a very cool thing. From then on I strived to get my loved ones lots of good gifts to let them know how much they are loved and appreciated. This has mutated over the years and I end up feeling that no matter what I get them, it is not enough, so I will keep getting more and more things for them to unwrap. This is a problem for everyone involved: I am seriously in debt and the people I am buying for end up feeling more uncomfortable than anything.

My family stopped doing the Kris Kringle thing after a few years. This Christmas, I swore I would tone it down considerably. Since I was not going to see my family this year, I was just going to mail them the family calendar that I design. It costs about $20 per calendar and that would be enough for each member of my family; I would just buy gifts for my niece and 3 nephews. The more I thought about it, the more I could not just send the calendar, but also wanted to send one small gift for each person as well. This was OK for my 2 aunts and my cousins, but for my brother and sister I wanted to do more, so they each got 4 gifts plus the calendar. I did not spend too much and it seemed reasonable.

Sasha’s folks spent Christmas with us, so since we were all going to be together on Christmas morning, I wanted to make sure they had something special to open, as well as something fun and something I knew they wanted and something that made me think of them, etc. I had them each covered and then some, but I still felt it was not enough, so I went out on Christmas eve and got them each 2 more things. While I was wrapping it all, I realized that I had once again over done it. I put a few things aside that I decided to not even wrap, but the space beneath the tree was packed solid with wrapped gifts and the packages were bleeding out into the hallway.

This was disastrous, because Sasha’s parents had helped us to buy a new chair as their gift to us. The chair was on back order to be delivered in a few weeks. Sasha’s Mom had given me 2 other gifts to open and I got a few things from Sasha to open. As I watched them open gift after gift from me, I could tell that they were more embarrassed than delighted. Why do I do this?






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